Title:
Using a Musical Instrument as a Video Game Controller
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The use of musical instruments as methods for controlling video games is disclosed. By translating the notes, beats, chords, note changes and other musical elements into input that can be recognized by a video game or video game system, the person playing the instrument will have the ability to play a game through the use of an instrument. This includes the ability to configure the music translation system to provide different input to the video game or video game system depending on the key in which the person is playing the instrument.



Inventors:
Meske, Alexander Christian (South Euclid, OH, US)
Application Number:
12/104421
Publication Date:
10/22/2009
Filing Date:
04/16/2008
Assignee:
Macedon Productions, Inc. (South Euclid, OH, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F9/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
NGUYEN, ANH-VO V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Alexander C. Meske (South Euclid, OH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. The use of a musical instrument as an input device for a video game or video game system.

2. The use of a component or components of a musical instrument as an input device for a video game or video game system.

3. The translation of music or musical information into a form of input that can be recognized by a video game or video game system.

4. The use of claim 3 wherein a musical instrument communicates with a music-to-input translator through a cable connection, through a plug connection, through a wireless connection, through a device attached to the instrument, through a device inside the instrument, through a microphone picking up the sound of the instrument, or through a computer program.

5. The use of claim 3 wherein a music-to-input translator communicates with a video game or video game system through a cable connection, through a plug connection, through a wireless connection, through a device attached to the video game system, through a device inside the video game system, or through a computer program.

6. The method of claim 3 wherein the frequency, period, or amplitude of a particular tone, note, or beat is translated into an input or a set of inputs sent to a video game or video game system.

7. The method of claim 3 wherein the event of the creation of a tone, note, or beat is translated into an input or a set of inputs sent to a video game or video game system.

8. The method of claim 3 wherein a set of notes, tones, or beats played concurrently is translated into an input or a set of inputs sent to a video game or video game system.

9. The method of claim 3 wherein a set of notes, tones, or beats played sequentially is translated into an input or a set of inputs sent to a video game or video game system.

10. The method of claim 3 wherein a change in the frequency, period, or amplitude of a note, tone, or beat is translated into an input or set of inputs sent to a video game or video game system.

11. The method of claim 3 wherein the originating source of the note, tone, or beat, or a set of notes, tones, or beats is translated into an input or a set of inputs sent to a video game or video game system.

12. The use of claim 3 wherein a note, tone, beat or a set of notes, tones, or beats can be translated into a different input or set of inputs sent to the video game or video game system, depending upon the setting or configuration of the translator.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein differing notes, tones, or beats can be translated into one input or one set of inputs sent to the video game or video game system.

14. The method of claim 12 wherein one note, tone or beat or one set of notes, tones, or beats is translated into different input depending upon the relationship in time to other notes, tones, or beats.

15. The method of claim 12 wherein one note or tone or one set of notes or tones is translated into different input depending upon the relationship in pitch to other notes or tones.

16. The method of claim 12 wherein one note, tone, or beat or one set of notes, tones, or beats is translated into different inputs depending upon the originating instrument.

17. The method of claim 12 wherein the change to one note, tone, or beat or one set of notes, tones, or beats is translated into different input depending upon the way in which the note, tone, or beat is changed.

Description:

The use of a musical instrument to control action in a video game by translating musical information to an input format that can be understood by a video game system.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

There are currently video games in existence that provide users with the simulated experience of playing musical instruments. The Guitar Hero® series and the game Rock Band® are particular examples of this genre. However, these games only provide the simulated experience of playing an instrument.

For people who can play instruments or people who wish to learn instruments, these games only provide the most rudimentary idea of chord progressions and notes. Thus, if a guitar player wishes to play one of these music games, the guitar player must learn an entirely foreign control system. This is also the case for other musicians who play music simulations, such as bass players and drummers/percussionists.

A person who can play the instrument being simulated may wish to actually play the instrument itself, rather than attempt to learn how to operate a controller that does not provide an experience like the actual instrument. Likewise, if a person playing the game wishes to learn the actual instrument without losing the entertainment value of playing a video game simulation that the person enjoys, there is not currently a way for the person to translate the simulation to a real-world experience with real instruments.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

This invention is the use of using a musical instrument as an input device for controlling a video game. By translating the notes or beats being created by the musical instrument into input information recognizable to a video game or video game system, a musical instrument can be used to control the action or events in a video game.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a diagram of a guitar connected by cable to a device that translates musical notes to video game input that is then sent through a cable connection to a video game system.

FIG. 2A is a diagram of a guitar connected via wireless to a device that translates musical notes to video game input that is then sent through a cable connection to a video game system.

FIG. 2B is a diagram of a guitar connected via wireless to a device that translates musical notes to video game input that is then sent via a wireless connection to a video game system.

FIG. 2C is a diagram of a guitar connected by cable to a device that translates musical notes to video game input that is then sent via a wireless connection to a video game system.

FIG. 3A is a diagram of a guitar pickup connected to a device that translates musical notes to video game input that is then sent to a video game system.

FIG. 3B is a diagram of a guitar playing into a microphone that is connected to a device that translates musical notes to video game input that is then sent to a video game system.

FIG. 4A is a diagram of a snare drum with a sensor attached and an electronic drum connected to a device that translates drumbeats into video game input that is then sent to a video game system.

FIG. 4B is a diagram of an entire drum set with sensors attached to every component. Every beat picked up by the sensors is sent to a device that translates the drumbeats into video game input that is then sent to a video game system.

FIG. 5A is a diagram of a possible control configuration that may be used to set the musical key used for a music-to-video game translation. The output sent to a video game system for a given set of musical information differs for each key. The slider switches are used to set the alphabetic key, whether the key is flat or sharp, and whether the key is major or minor.

FIG. 5B is a diagram of a possible control configuration that may be used to set the musical key used for a music-to-video game translation. The output sent to a video game system for a given set of musical information differs for each key. The arrow buttons are used to cycle through a set of preset or custom configurations.

FIG. 5C is a diagram of a possible control configuration that may be used to set the musical key used for a music-to-video game translation. The output sent to a video game system for a given set of musical information differs for each key. The knobs are used to set the alphabetic key, whether the key is flat or sharp, and whether the key is major or minor.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The invention is the use of a musical instrument as an input device for a video game. Rather than using a controller or a virtual guitar or a controller simulating a musical instrument, a real musical instrument is used to control the action and play the video game.

Referring to FIG. 1, an electric guitar 100 is being played. The music 110 being created is sent from the cable 120 connecting the guitar to the device 130 that performs the translation for a video game system. The translated video game control information 140 is sent through a cable connection from the device 130 to the video game system 150. The musical 110 is also sent to an amplifier 160 which plays the actual, untranslated music aloud.

Referring to FIG. 2A, FIG. 2B, and FIG. 2C, there are other possible permutations for sending information from the guitar to the device that translates the music to video game input, then passing the information on to the video game system. In FIG. 2A, this is a wireless connection 200 from the guitar 201 to the translating device 202, then a cable connection 203 from the translating device 202 to the video game system 204. In FIG. 2B, this is a wireless connection 210 from the guitar 211 to the translating device 212, then another wireless connection 213 from the translating device 212 to the video game system 214. In FIG. 2C, this is a cable connection 220 from the guitar 221 to the translating device 222, then a wireless connection 223 from the translating device 222 to the video game system 224.

Though the instrument described in conjunction with this game is frequently the guitar, the instrument used to control the game can be any of a wide variety of musical instruments such as percussion instruments (including cymbals, bell lyre, celeste, chimes, crotales, glockenspiel, marimba, orchestra bells, steel drums, timpani, vibraphone, xylophone, bass drum, crash cymbal, gong, suspended cymbal, tam-tam, tenor drum, tom-tom, acme siren, bird whistle, boat whistle, dinner bell, doorbell, finger cymbals, flex-a-tone, mouth organ, marching machine, police whistle, ratchet, rattle, sandpaper blocks, slapstick, sleigh bells, tambourine, temple blocks, thunder machine, train whistle, triangle, vibra-slap, wind machine, wood block, agogo bells, bongo drum, cabaca, castanets, claves, conga, cowbell, maracas, scraper, timbales, kick drum, hi-hat, ride cymbal, sizzle cymbal, snare drum, and splash cymbal), wind instruments (including piccolo, alto flute, bass flute, contra-alto flute, contrabass flute, subcontrabass flute, double contrabass flute, piccolo clarinet, sopranino clarinet, soprano clarinet, basset horn, alto clarinet, bass clarinet, contra-alto clarinet, contrabass clarinet, octocontra-alto clarinet, octocontrabass clarinet, kazoo, saxonette, soprillo, sopranino saxophone, soprano saxophone, conn-o-sax, clar-o-sax, saxie, messo-soprano saxophone, bass saxophone, contrabass saxophone, subcontrabass saxophone, tubax, aulochrome, tarogato, folgerphone, contrabassoon, tenoroon, piccolo oboe, oboe d'amore, English horn, French horn, oboe de caccia, bass oboe, baritone oboe, contrabass oboe, bagpipes, bugle, cornet, didgeridoo, euphonium, flugelhorn, shofar, sousaphone, trombone, trumpet, tuba, accordion, concertina, harmonica, harmonium, pipe organ, voice, bullroarer, lasso d'amore, whip, and siren), stringed instruments (including harps, electric bass, dulcimer, archlute, arpeggione, banjo, cello, Chapman stick, cittern, clavichord, double bass, fiddle, slide guitar, steel guitar, harpsichord, hurdy gurdy, Jew's harp, kora, koto, lute, lyre, mandola, mandolin, sitar, ukulele, viola, violin, and zither), keyboard instruments (including accordion, bandoneon, calliope, carillon, celesta, clavichord, glasschord, harpsichord, electronic organ, Hammond organ, pipe organ, MIDI keyboard, baby grand piano, electric piano, grand piano, janko piano, toy piano, upright piano, viola organista, and spinets), and other instruments (turntable, computer-generated tones, frequency generator, klaxon).

The information used to register the musical information can be determined from the sound made by the instrument, or from the output of the musical instrument (such as the cord jack from a guitar), or from a component or components of the musical instrument (such as guitar pickups).

Referring to FIG. 3A, the pickups 300 on an electric guitar are individually connected to a device 310 that translates the musical information 320 from each, individual guitar pickup to video game input 330 that is sent to a video game system 335.

Referring to FIG. 3B, an acoustic guitar 340 is being played in front of a microphone 350 that is picking up the musical information 360 and sending it to a device 370 that translates the musical information 360 to video game input 380 that is sent to a video game system 385.

After the musical information has been registered, the information from the instrument or instruments is converted to input information that can be understood by the video game or video game system.

The musical information associated with a given input to the video game can be changed by configuration (such as to match the notes or chords associated with a certain musical key). The information can be a single note, a single beat, a set of notes played together (such as in a chord), set of beats played together, a set of notes played in sequence, a set of beats played in sequence, or any combination thereof. The configuration associating certain notes or sets of notes with input information sent to the video game or video game system can be configured by key, by intended song, by the game for which it is intended, by the system for which it is intended, by the band for which it is intended, a custom configuration, or any combination of the aforementioned methods of configuration.

Referring to FIG. 5A, FIG. 5B, and FIG. 5C, the device for translating musical information to video game input is based upon the desired key. In FIG. 5A, the key used for translating information is set by moving the slider switches 501, 502, and 503; in this example, it is set to A-major. In FIG. 5B, the key used for translating information is set by cycling through a list of options using the up and down arrow buttons 511 and 512 and viewing the selected configuration in the display 513; in this example, it is set to A-major. In FIG. 5C, the key used for translating information is set by turning the knob switches 521, 522, and 523; in this example, it is set to A-major.

The translation configurations may also be set up through software. This can include providing users with the ability to build their own custom configurations.

To provide an example, if a person is playing the guitar on an Xbox 360 and the musical instrument translator is set to the key of E, the E note may indicate to the Xbox 360 that the green A button was pressed, the A note may be the blue X button, and the B note may be the yellow Y button. Furthermore, the E chord may be the red B button, the A button may be the blue X button and the red B button, and the B chord may be the green A button and the yellow Y button.

However, the same translator may then have its configuration changed to the key of D. In that situation, the D note may indicate to the Xbox 360 that the green A button and the yellow Y button were pressed, the G note may be the blue X button, and the A note may be the yellow Y button alone. Furthermore, the D chord may be the green A button, the A chord may be the blue X button and the red B button, and the B chord may be the green A button and the yellow Y button.

Furthermore, the changes to the musical information that occur due to such techniques as bending strings, using the whammy bar (also known as the vibrato bar), hammer-ons, pull-offs, holding notes, wah-wah pedals, reverbs, tremolos, pick slides, screeches, and turning the tuning key can also be translated for use by the video game or video game system. The musical techniques can also include other special techniques for instruments such as using mutes or muffles, using pitch bends wheels, plucking strings, and any other special technique that is performed by a musician or any other device that is used while playing an instrument.

The information translated can be a specific note in a specific octave, a specific note in any octave, a specific chord shape, any named chord of any shape, a specific note played in a certain way (such as a note played on a certain string), a note played in any manner, and any combination of the aforementioned information.

The information translated can be the creation of a sound, such as the start of a note or the beat of a drum. The information translated can be changed for the initiating event or percussion instrument used.

Referring to FIG. 4A, a snare drum 400 sensor 405, and an electronic drum 410 are connected to a device 420 that translates information about beats to video game input 430. When the drumsticks 440 and 450 strike the drums 400 and 410, the beats are sent from the sensor 405 and the electronic drum 410 to the device 430, which translates the information about the beats to the video game input 430 that is sent to the video game system 460.

Referring to FIG. 4B, sensors 470 are attached to several different drums so that a theoretically unlimited number of inputs can be used by the one device 480 used to translate musical information to video game input that can be sent along to a video game system 490.

The musical information from the instrument may also be sent to an amplifier so that the person playing will have the ability to hear the music created by the instrument outside of its representation in a video game or on a video game system.

Refer to FIG. 1, FIG. 2A, FIG. 2B, and FIG. 2C for graphical examples of information being sent both to video game systems and amplifiers for musical instruments.

Though the expectation is that the musical instrument is generally played with music simulators, the input may also be used for other types of video games including but not limited to first-person shooter, survival horror, action adventure, fighting games, role playing games, real-time strategy games, platformers, puzzle games, sports games, rhythm action games, racing games, stealth-action games and third-person shooters.

Having described certain embodiments of the invention, other embodiments incorporating the concepts of the invention may also be used. Although the described concepts fall generally into the field of music simulators within the genre of the rhythm action game, the principles of the invention can extend to other areas of video game creation, development, concepts, ideas, usages, utilizations, competition, collaboration, and function. Therefore, the invention should not be limited to certain embodiments, but rather should be limited only by the spirit and scope of the following claims.